Which one is the real danger?

Has John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute traded in his unending promotion of the joys of markets and the horrors of government to become a book reviewer? Not long ago he presented an absolutely unquestioning review of Charles Koch's self-serving biography. Now he offers up an equally unquestioning review of "The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech," by the Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel (The intimidation game, Aug. 9).

To hear Strassel tell it, and McClaughry retell it, American democracy itself is in dire danger of being obliterated by frothing leftists straining on their chains in anticipation of the "forced disclosure" of "names of the supporters and donors to causes the Left opposes," so they can track them down and silence them. Sounds scary. What nefarious device is going to force disclosure of the names of these innocent children of the right? Oddly, McClaughry omits that seemingly crucial detail.


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I have no intention of spending the money to purchase Strassel's book, so I have to guess that she, and McClaughry, are referring to the attempts to at least shed some light on who is behind the outrageously large amounts of money flowing into our electoral process. If disclosing the names of people who are using vast wealth to influence our elections is now considered a danger to democracy, then I have to agree that our democracy is endangered. But the danger comes not from attempts to inform people about the sources of money; it comes from the fact that influential people are trying to convince us that disclosure is a danger to democracy.

I am puzzled that someone who seems to revere the founders of America is a defender of election funding secrecy, and of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Everything I know about the founders tells me they would be horrified by the current political financing landscape, and would probably have been willing to take up arms against something like ALEC.

— Lee Russ Bennington